The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Thursday, 28 June 2018 01:00

Increased seismic hazard due to Earth's rotation slowdown

Increased seismic hazard due to Earth rotation slowdown Increased seismic hazard due to Earth rotation slowdown.

Scientists from the U.S. believe that a significant increase of earthquakes will occur beginning from 2018.

Their predictions are correlated with the deceleration of the Earth's spin velocity, a phenomenon that is caused by the exchange of angular momentum between the solid and fluid Earth (atmospheres, oceans and outer core). Despite the fact that such variations in rotation are small – changing the length of the day by a millisecond – they could still be implicated in the release of vast amounts of underground energy, it is argued. The correlation between Earth's rotation and seismic activity was highlighted in a paper by Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. Authors point out that the link of this interconnection is not yet fully understood.

The researchers analyzed earthquake data (Mw>7) tha occurred since 1990. In their study they found periods of time with higher frequency of severe incidents. In the attempt to understand this phenomenon, they discovered that at the same time periods the spin velocity of the planet decreased. These periods lasted about 5 years and were followed by the abovementioned strong earthquakes. "Major earthquakes have been well recorded for more than a century and that gives us a good record to study. In these periods, there were between 25 to 30 intense earthquakes a year," said Bilham. "The rest of the time the average figure was around 15 major earthquakes a year. Bilham adds: "It is straightforward. The Earth is offering us a five-year heads-up on future earthquakes."

Regarding the phase of the phenomenon nowadays, it is highlighted that 4 years have passed by since that last decelaration event. Therefore, the next five years will be a hazardous period.


Read 142 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 June 2018 16:07

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